Greater Idols


Cookies, a Botticelli monograph and gold jumpsuits are just some of the disparate objects currently located in PS1’s rotating gallery space. Curated by ICI (Independent Curators International) director Kate Fowle, the backroom features a temporary archive of objects and documents contributed by 40 of the Greater New York artists to represent the major influences in their work.

Fowle says, “The artists were all asked to contribute materials that give the audience more access to their interests, research, and source influences… offering the experience of a studio visit, where you talk predominantly about the ‘work’ but at the same time you have the opportunity to see what an artist has pinned to their walls, or what is on their bookshelf.” Instead of a conventional, untouchable museum display, visitors are invited by the security guard to break their “don’t touch” instinct by flipping through books and documents, changing CDs or DVDs at their leisure, as well as eating snacks that are offered.

A direct line can be made between much of the source material and the artists who contributed them. No surprise, given the spiritualism and otherworldly nature of David Benjamin Sherry’s practice, that he contributed Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain and copies of books by William Blake and Allen Ginsberg; documents surrounding David Brooks’ environmental interests and Lucy Raven’s social project are obvious extensions of their artworks. Even more literally but simultaneously less like an extended wall text, Ryan McNamara’s pile of leggings relates directly to the outfits worn in his performances. Others are a little more oblique, as befits their practives: David Adamo’s shows Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” via YouTube. The clip might, somehwere along the line, connect to Adamo’s installation of baseball balls on the floor upstairs—which requires truly agile movement. And the first showing of Stravinsky’s piece brought on real violent outrage, an effect not to be excluded from any consideration of a bat.

The objects are installed in this (rather lackadasical and spread-out) museum in the manner of the private domain of the studio space. Simultaneously they are, without a doubt, elevated by their context to strange readymades themselves. Jens Hoffmann’s made a similar effort recently in his exhibition about roadtrips in the Southwest at Artpace, where he installed tumbleweed, to more idiosyncratic effect. It’s difficult to totalize the character of these objects, but that they attest to a condition of wanthing to know more.